For me, Merauder was a lost, lost band for a number of years. 2003s Bluetality was a flat, flaccid record and not representative of one of New York’s hardest bands. What’s more, I saw them at Pressure Fest in Germany in 2005 and they were equally flat, uninterested and to be frank out of their depth as a number of younger, hungrier units out muscled them that weekend. So when the news that they were back “in training,” I have to say I was curious but not overly expecting anything earth shattering.
That’ll teach me then won’t it?
Despite only having Jorge Rosado as the original member (now approaching 40), this incarnation of the band sounds firmly and confidently like the fire breathing behemoth from the mid 90s but doesn’t sound dated or feeble against today’s heavyweights. ‘Until,’ is indicative of this as it literally bursts from the speakers, driven by Jorge’s characteristic bark/scream medley before laying down a serious groove that is cast iron in its weight and impact. It’s further heightened by the omnipotent pre-chorus cry of “crush your enemies,” firmly propelled by heaving double bass and chugs.
That’s the first minute and a half.
Then comes ‘Ratcatcher.’ The build up is sublime, deftly teasing and hinting that at any second an avalanche will fold the speakers in half and true to this notion, at just before the 2 minute mark a rumbling, quaking molten riff is unleashed (like the hell Russell Crowe demanded in “Gladiator.”). Amazingly though, it sounds exactly as Merauder should sound at this time in their career. You can clearly hear it’s them, those deft metallic riffs and pounding beatdowns that were the hallmark of the mid 90s East Coast sound.
These are the cornerstone to the heaving heaviness on the album but they are coupled with something that has been somewhat forgotten in recent years, songs. God is I, is packed with great, great songs, that are as memorable as anything on Master Killer or Five Deadly Venoms, and certainly match those masterpieces in terms of intensity. What’s refreshing also is the type of breaks to be found herein. It’s not the over saturated, over played and over used staccato, Meshuggah ripped break to be found in most modern metalcore. Instead are heaving, organic, chugging rhythms that owe as much to All Out War as they do to Suffocation and Merauder have never denied their love of death metal.
It’s often said that many things in life are cyclical, and with stellar, stellar albums by Earth Crisis, Kickback and now Merauder, it seems as though the, classic metalcore from the 90s is finding its feet again in this massive, massive heavy musical landscape.[Visit the band's website]